Everton vs. Liverpool: Score, Highlights and Grades
Rather than be satisfied with a 2-2 tie against Everton in a match that was often breathtaking in its excitement, Liverpool fans will be lamenting a late, phantom offside call that stole a game-winning goal from Luis Suarez.
For the second time in the match, Suarez found himself on the end of a brilliant Steven Gerrard free kick and put the ball in the back of the net. But it wasn't to be, as a linesman incorrectly ruled the play offside.
It's been that type of year for Liverpool
Suarez was brilliant throughout. He opened the scoring with a ripping shot from a tough angle that deflected off an Everton player and caromed into the goal. He deserves props for the threatening shot, as it served as both a dangerous cross and possible deflection. He got the latter.
And he wasn't done. Suarez headed in Liverpool's second goal off a brilliant free kick into the box by Steven Gerrard.
Just over 20 minutes in, Liverpool looked headed toward a classy win. But Everton would not go quietly into that night, countering with a Leon Osman blast off a half-volley from just outside the box minutes later.
Everton would stay on the front foot, as Steven Naismith rocketed home a Marouane Fellaini low cross and tied the game.
Everton ended the half with the momentum on its side, but Liverpool came out on the front foot in the second half after a Brendan Rodgers formation shift. Still, the game settled in the second half, and though there were chances, neither team found the net.
Well, not officially, at least. Liverpool fans will surely be up in arms over Suarez's disallowed goal.
The game also featured a bit of irony. After Suarez set up the game's first goal, he made a point to celebrate in front of Everton manager David Moyes, who had made it a point before the match to point out Suarez's habits of simulating.
But Suarez wouldn't be carded for a dive in the match. No, in a humorous bit of irony, it was Phil Neville who was shown the yellow card for going to the ground too easily.
In all, this was a fantastic match, namely in the first half. Let's take a look at the highlights and hand out a few grades.
Luis Suarez, Liverpool: A+
Despite the constant chiding of the Everton fans, Suarez had himself quite a first half, scoring a goal, forcing an own-goal by Everton (which he celebrated in front of David Moyes) and once again proving to be Liverpool's most dangerous player.
Oh, and he scored the game-winning goal. The only problem was it was incorrectly disallowed as Suarez was ruled offsides. Replay showed he was clearly on.
Quite simply, take Suarez off of this Liverpool team and the Reds lose most of their bite in the attacking third. He's not the perfect player, but he's certainly Liverpool's most threatening option.
Nikica Jelavić, Everton: B-
Jelavić was a threatening figure for the Toffees, namely in the second half when he was a handful for the Liverpool defense. He wouldn't score, but you wouldn't have been surprised if he managed a goal in this match.
Still, it was his turnover that led to Liverpool's first goal. Had he scored himself, that gaffe might have been forgiven. He didn't.
Raheem Sterling, Liverpool: C+
There's not doubt that Sterling adds an element to Liverpool out wide that the team desperately needs. His pace and ability to break down defenders on the dribble makes the team's 4-3-3 a threatening one, and when he is at his best he demands a lot of attention.
But Sterling was a bit lacking against Everton. He was dangerously close to being handed a second yellow and finding himself banned from the match. He missed a brilliant opportunity to either score or set up Suarez for a go-ahead goal, chipping a shot wide.
Yes, he again created chances and looked dangerous. But you don't miss a game-winning goal like he had in his grasp and get a better grade than this.
Kevin Mirallas, Everton: B+
I recall watching an earlier game this season for Everton and feeling that Mirallas was both pressing and looking for his shot too often. I saw the ability, but I wasn't impressed with his style.
In this game, I was taken by both.
His crafty dribbling set him up in space and forced Liverpool fouls. His crosses hit the mark or forced corners. He was a creator rather than simply looking his own shot. Color me impressed.
Steven Gerrard, Liverpool: B+
The crafty midfielder was on his game in this one. He set up Suarez's headed goal off a brilliant free kick, and sent in another perfect pass on the Suarez game-winner that was disallowed. He also sent Liverpool on a few runs with some nice through balls.
He even put a quality shot on goal, setting up a late corner.
But like the rest of the Liverpool team, his efforts weren't quite enough to steal the three points. Well, officially that is—Liverpool was robbed of the winner by a poor offside call.
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